If it's about the Cowboy's and is published in a public forum, chances are, my eyes don't miss it. Regardless of my opinion of the writer, which varies from one media outlet to the next, I give each article a fair shake, not so much as a result of them being deserving, but by virtue of my ardent insatiable Cowboy information addiction. In my daily dose, I must weather quite a bit of negative speculation; which I'm okay with for the most part, considering that in many cases in the past it has been deserved. But sometimes the media's opinion will take a quote and completely twist it around to make the news more interesting and more marketable. I further believe they do this because it creates an opening for them to write more articles on the same subject either posting a retraction or to further prove their assertion, with, in the end, helps them meet whatever quota their bosses demand of them.
Last year, this issue, in my mind, was an epidemic, which led to Jerry Jones finally imposing a mandate that gagged the whole of the organization from speaking to the media during the early part of the off-season; Jerry being the only exception to the rule. I, personally, applauded this move. The media, obviously, was pretty upset about it. But when you take words out of the owner's mouth such as, "I was told he was healthy enough to play" said in regards to Marion Barber, and turn it into "Jerry Jones calls Marion Barber a wuss," you have to know there will be consequences.
Nevertheless, it's a new year, and the mediots are at it again. With it sprung in my head an idea: There should be some forum that makes an effort at keeping these particular media members honest. Just as they notoriously paraphrase the various gum-bumping of members of the Cowboys organization, so shall I do what I can to paint the picture that was originally intended by the benefactor of said quote.
The latest quote receiving negative attention is Jerry Jones assertion that he believes the Cowboy's team will play to the level of the new stadium; that these player's will feel a slight push towards winning surrounded by a structure that could only be described as elite compared to it's peers Texas Stadium and the Cotton Bowl, as well any other stadium ever built in the world. While the following doesn't exactly twist Jerry's word's, it is worthy of correction.
In Jean-Jacques Taylor blog entry "Jerry Jones has lost his mind," he contends that the stadium will have absolutely no effect on the players or the outcome in the game.
Jerry Jones is a marketing genius, but he has lost his mind if he thinks Cowboys Stadium will make a single bit of difference in the team's performance this year.
Just like the emotion of the final game at Texas Stadium didn't help the Cowboys beat Baltimore last December. And just like the raucous crowd the night "The Triplets" were inducted into the Ring of Honor didn't help the Cowboys beat the hated Redskins.
I suppose it's fairly easy to take this out of context; not much reaching is necessary to do so. And, granted, the last thing I want anybody within the organization vocalizing is lofty expectations, such as the Cowboy's being Super Bowl bound in 2009. But I think what Jerry was trying to relate to the media is that this team is going to fight to make us forget 44 to 6, 9 and 7, and 12 years without a play off win. And this stadium, built with the teams storied history and prior dynasties in mind, is going to motivate them all the more to ensure their play reflects the excellence that their predecessor's demanded of themselves.
Furthermore, the interior of Cowboy's stadium creates an atmosphere ripe for a fanatic frenzy. As you walk from your car to your seat, having been inundated with Cowboy's lore and past glory, I would imagine you won't be able to resist screaming at the top of your lungs as the Cowboy's take the field, move the ball, and destroy the opposing team's various ball carriers and signal callers. JJT seems to believe that the price of the ticket will ultimately create a golf crowd, highlighted by the occasional clinking of glasses, as the fans toast various well-performed plays, considering his quote:
Actually, Jerry should be concerned that there will be so many corporate butts in the stands that it'll be a quieter venue Texas Stadium, known for being a wine-and-cheese crowd.
Yeah, okay. If you say so, Jean.
Those "corporate butts" at the end of the day are still human, and chances are they are still fans, and therefore are not immune to getting drawn into the hype that just sitting in that stadium must create. Also, I would further predict that the ability to see every detail of the game in high definition via that 60 yard long big screen will help fuel the excitement. Make no mistake, the media may need to yell their questions at the top of their lungs in the wake of a football game, as they question the ringing ears of players from both sides of the field.
But, hey, that's just me speculating from a positive angle. As the season progresses, I'm sure the media will afford me plenty of opportunities to offer up a corrected translation of what was actually said vs. their misguided misinformation.
Cowboys Have Had Quiet, Yet Successful, Free Agency
Yet another free agency without a big splash by the Dallas Cowboys. What a surprise. Despite entertaining Earl Thomas rumors for a long, long time, the Cowboys' front office has stuck with its philosophy of not overpaying free agents and building the team mainly through the NFL Draft. However, they've actually had some pretty good signings over the last few days that will really benefit the Cowboys when the season comes around.
They've done so with inexpensive free agents who will contribute at a high level on their respective positions. Sure, top free agent signings are fun. But many times, they end up backfiring to teams for spending so much money in one single player. At the end of the day, the Cowboys' way has gotten the team three NFC East Championships since 2014. Many factors come into play, but their team building philosophy can't be as bad as many claim it to be.
The most recent acquisition came in form of former Cincinnati Bengal and Minnesota Viking Safety George Iloka. The Cowboys had a desperate need at the defensive backfield and finally they've done something about it. On a heavy safety market, the Cowboys sat tight while watching the top free agents get top contracts around the league, including Landon Collins' record breaking deal with the Washington Redskins.
Now, they've gotten a guy who can play both safety positions. I'll be surprised if he doesn't take Jeff Heath's job. He's played as a free safety most of his career but being a good tackler, he should do a good job in the box. Iloka will also shine on special teams in Dallas.
So far, my favorite signing may be that of former Green Bay Packer, Randall Cobb. The Cowboys had an important need at the wide receiver position despite counting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup leading the room. Cole Beasley is a tough guy to replace and although Cobb may not be a better slot receiver than him, he certainly has the experience and the skill set to be a starting slot WR. What's more, he'll only cost the Cowboys five million while Beasley got a four year deal with which he'll earn $17M over the first two years.
Cole Beasley will be missed, but the good thing is the front office did a pretty good job at filling the concerning hole on offense. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb are definitely not a bad starting trio to have.
Other under the radar moves will also help the Cowboys. Kerry Hyder may not be a well-known in the NFL but he'll surely contribute to this defensive line as a rotational player. Hyder had eight sacks in 2016 with the Detroit Lions before suffering an Achilles injury in 2017 and dealing with a scheme change last season. Hyder will surely be happy about being back to a 4-3 defense in Dallas.
Christian Covington was another overlooked signing. Covington will help on the interior of the defensive line and although he'll likely not be a starter, he'll be an important piece in the rotation for a very reasonable contract ( also a one-year deal).
For a football team that's constantly criticized for not being active in free agency, the Cowboys have done something at pretty much every position where they need help. Safety, defensive end, defensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end have all been addressed this offseason prior to the NFL Draft. This will give them great flexibility in April and could lead to a pretty good "best player available" strategy.
Now granted, there are still concerns regarding the young "to be extended" group of players. DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't reached an agreement with the Cowboys and will continue to postpone surgery until he does. If the front office doesn't strike a contract with the star pass rusher, it won't be possible to consider this offseason a good one no matter what happens. Dallas can't let him leave.
In the meantime though, they've had a pretty quiet yet successful March. And they're not done yet. Robert Quinn could end up wearing the Star if a trade with the Miami Dolphins does end up taking place. We'll see if the Cowboys continue to build on an already pretty good free agency.
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019
In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.
Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.
The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?
Let's take a look.
As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.
Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.
As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.
Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.
Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.
There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.
Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.
While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.
Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.
In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.
Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.
With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.
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